Very early this morning, I had a Skype session with Astrid Goldberg. She is a communication specialist, working in Germany. We spoke about communication & change management.
A couple of years ago, Astrid joined a company as their Marketing Communication Manager. The company was about to introduce a major change: their new name and corporate design. The name was already announced and the employees – not surprisingly – upset about the change. Most of all, they disliked the name and its anglicization. People felt, that with a new name and design all their past hard work was gone or at least not appreciated. Astrid was in a difficult position: New to the company and perceived as the “incarnated change”, she had to come up with a plan. Here is what she did:
1. Identify Opinion Leaders
Being new to the company, Astrid had to understand the company’s structure first. Under the company’s umbrella, there were five new brands (divisions) to build. So Astrid started fairly early to build a network of people that she considered “early adaptors” and “opinion leaders” in the various divisions.
2. Work out the evolution of the brand
Astrid stuck her nose into old paperwork, into neglected computer folders and digged out old versions of customer magazines and other publications. Her goal was to work out the evolution of the company, its name and design. Once she had that, she was able to communicate and visualize the “logic development of a company’s name and its look thanks to the achievements of its people”. This is how she put it. She demonstrated the link between the effort of the employees and the evolution of the look & feel of the company. For example, since the company was now a part of an international network and people worked in international environments, the new company name inevitably had to be English.
3. Turning colleagues into “accomplices”
Within the scope of the new design Astrid could give leeway to the individual brand designs. Once people contributed towards the new design, they supported the change.
4. Repeat, repeat, repeat
“Repeat the key message that you derived from your communication strategy, and the progress of the change across all communication channels over and over again.” says Astrid. This way, people will eventually come on board.
The biggest success for Astrid was, when her harshest critic was convinced. Then she knew she did a good job.
Trouble with changes yourself? Read “Who moved my cheese?” by Dr. Spencer Johnson. A classic on how to deal and embrace change in your life.